MTN Group, Africa's largest mobile services provider, has donated $25 million towards the African Union's COVID-19 vaccination program. According to both organizations, the money will help to secure seven million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccines that will be procured will be allocated for health workers across Africa.
“The devastating impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and profound. Public and private partnerships are needed if we are to succeed in the fight against the pandemic and restore social and economic norms for our continent and our communities,” said Ralph Mupita, President and Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group.
Devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa
The COVID-19 pandemic, and its various restrictions on trade and movement of people trade restrictions, has been devastating for Africa’s urban poor. It is expected that as a result, economic growth in Africa will contract by 3.2%.
Given the negative effects on the economies and livelihoods in various African countries, it is important that many Africans get vaccinated as soon as possible to ensure that full economic activity can resume.
“Our goal is to ensure that all those who need the COVID-19 vaccine have access to it very quickly, but the biggest hurdle in Africa has been financing of the vaccines, and the logistics of vaccinating at scale. We therefore welcome the right partnerships, like the one with MTN, to achieve our minimum 60 percent vaccination target,” said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC.
COVID-19 vaccines secured
On 14 January 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of the African Union, announced that the African Union had secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses on behalf of its member countries, through advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to US$2 billion to the manufacturers by the African Export-Import Bank.
To achieve at least 60% herd immunity, it is reported that Africa would require many more doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. This makes contributions like the one MTN has made essential.
“We believe ongoing collaborations with key stakeholders across sectors are essential as vaccines are deployed in all our markets, with communication tools, technology and digital services being vital support infrastructure for a successful mass vaccination programme,” concluded Mupita.
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